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Kidnapped Iranian was alive about a week ago
-- sources


THE Iranian cleric kidnapped in Georgetown early last month in a case that has baffled police here was possibly alive up to about a week ago, sources said yesterday.

Iranian cleric Mohammed Hassan Ebrahimi

Mohammad Hassan Ebrahimi was executed and his body found in a shallow grave off the Linden/Soesdyke late Tuesday afternoon.

Results from the post mortem done Wednesday morning indicate that he was "only recently shot", a top source told the Chronicle yesterday.


Senior Iranian police and intelligence officials have been here working with local police on the mysterious case and investigations are continuing, sources said.

Iranian-body-flown-out

A colonel and another senior officer from the Iran police force, who travelled to Guyana last week with two Iranian intelligence officials and the Iran Ambassador based in Venezuela, Mr. Ahmad Sobhani, have remained here to help in the probe, the Chronicle understands.

"Indications are that Ebrahimi may have been alive up to about one week ago", a source said.

The Iranian arrived in Guyana about 22 months ago and sources said investigators are trying to find our more about what he had been doing here.

Abdul Kadir (ex-PNC MP) 'Person of interest'

He was kidnapped on the night of April 2 from outside the International Islamic College for Advanced Studies (IICAS), on Brickdam, Georgetown where he worked as Director.

Reports said Ebrahimi, 35, was forced into a getaway motorcar after gunmen discharged a volley of bullets at his car, which was parked outside the college.

His Administrator Raymond Halley was shot in the foot but escaped the kidnappers.

Police are baffled by the abduction because Ebrahimi's captors did not contact his family and made no ransom demand.

His wife, also Iranian, who is pregnant with their first child, had been anxiously awaiting word on her husband.

The wife and relatives want to take the body back to Iran for burial.

A member of the Muslim community close to the Ebrahimi family yesterday told the Chronicle that Iranian officials were working out the mechanics to take back the body as soon as possible to Iran.

The body was transported to the city and handed over to relatives after the post mortem examination which was witnessed by relatives, members of the Muslim community and the police.

Police said Ebrahimi was shot twice in the head and buried in a grave about three feet deep, some 400 yards off the St. Cuthbert's Mission trail and about three-and-a-half miles in from the Linden/Soesdyke highway.

The partly decomposed body was found after residents told police there was an unbearable stench from a point on the trail leading to the Amerindian settlement at St. Cuthbert's.

Police said they dug up the grave at about 18:15 hrs Tuesday and found the body lying face down with the mouth taped, hands tied behind the back and feet tied.

There were two gunshot wounds to the head, police said in a statement.

The body was positively identified by Abdul Kadir of the school, which Ebrahimi headed, and a close friend of the family, police said.

"A silver cap on one of the lower left dentures and finger ring aided the identification process", the statement said.

Residents in the area said they became aware of the shallow grave after the stench became unbearable while traversing the trail on their way to the Amerindian settlement.

Police said the Iranian scholar was wearing the same clothes he had last been seen alive in.

Meanwhile, the Guyana Islamic Trust (GIT) has sent condolences to the family of Ebrahimi and the IICAS.

Head of GIT Mr. Wazir Baksh yesterday said, "we are very saddened at the situation, we expected the police would have found him alive".

GIT also said it was concerned about the negative image the kidnapping and execution of a foreigner who came here could have on Guyana.

This incident could detract others from coming here and this is not an encouraging sign for the country's development, it said.

The Guyana Police Force has also extended apologies to the ISA Islamic School in Georgetown for the unprofessional conduct of one of their ranks when the police raided the school during the kidnapping probe last month.

Assistant Commissioner of Police, Commander of 'A' Division, Mr. Clinton Conway met the Parent Teachers Association and senior executives of the school located at East Street, South Cummingsburg, for a closed door meeting yesterday afternoon which lasted some 90 minutes.

After the meeting, the GIT Head Baksh told reporters they were very impressed with the outcome of the meeting and confirmed that the police did apologise for the behaviour of one of their ranks.

Responding to a query on what the rank actually did, he said, "He behaved unprofessionally".

Commissioner of Police, Mr. Winston Felix

Baksh added that an initial call for the Police Force to publicly apologise for the raid was withdrawn based on discussions with Commissioner of Police, Mr. Winston Felix last month.

The results of that meeting were also satisfactory, he added.

Conway said of yesterday's meeting, "We had some issues we wanted to clear up" but did not go into details.

Friday, May 07, 2004